The Mark Twain Circle of America

Linda Morris

President-Elect, Mark Twain Circle of America

The Mark Twain Circle of America, founded in 1986, is dedicated to the study of Mark Twain, his work, and his life and times.  It is the largest single-author society in the country.  Almost all of the prominent Mark Twain scholars in the U. S. and abroad are members of the organization, but so are many non-academics, humor scholars, Mark Twain impersonators, and lay fans of his writings.    Membership costs only $30 a year for U. S. members, and $32 for those from abroad, and for that they receive many benefits.  The Web site for the Mark Twain Circle is to be found on the University of Illinois Honor’s Program home site.Mark Twain cigar rocking chair Samuel Langhorne Clemens

The most prominent benefit is receipt of the Mark Twain Annual, a journal dedicated to publishing critical and pedagogical articles, as well as substantive book reviews.  The Annual is edited by Ann M. Ryan.  The most recent issue for 2010 contained eleven articles by prominent Twain scholars reflecting often in a personal way on earlier scholarship that influenced their own work; three critical essays; two “notes;” and six book reviews.  The Annual is published by Wiley-Blackwell in their American Literature Collection, and all articles are peer-reviewed.  The 2011 issue is due out in February and will be delivered promptly to all Circle members.

The Mark Twain Circle also publishes a newsletter, called the Mark Twain Circular, which is edited by Chad Rohman.  The Circular, published twice a year, typically includes a “President’s Letter,” information about upcoming Circle and other Mark Twain events, and short reviews of recent books on Mark Twain, his life and work.  All current members of the Circle receive the Circular, in April and in November.

Mark Twain Puck lecture Samuel Langhorne Clemens illustration  In addition to its publications, the Circle sponsors panels each year at the  MLA (the Modern Language Association) and the ALA (American  Literature Association).  Anyone may apply to present a paper, but we ask all those chosen to participate to join the society before the conference takes place.  At the upcoming MLA conference in Seattle in January of 2012, the Circle is sponsoring two panels, one entitled “Mark Twain:  Editing and Editions,” and the second entitled “Mark Twain and ‘The Other.’”  The call for papers for Circle-sponsored MLA panels and papers goes out as early as February of the previous year, so watch for the call for next year if you are interested in presenting a paper.

We are also affiliated with the ALA, and that conference takes place each May, alternating between San Francisco and Boston.  We always sponsor at least two panels there, as well as a lively reception for all Circle members and friends.  Please see the conference program for the 2012 papers.  Please check the Circle’s webpage for future CFPs for MLA and ALA.

The Circle is affiliated with all of the key Mark Twain sites in America.  These include the Mark Twain Papers and Project at the University of California at Berkeley, The Elmira College Center for Mark Twain StudiesThe Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut, and The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Missouri.

We’re a wide-ranging, inclusive organization, and all are welcome to join us.  We hope you will consider it.  It is hard to imagine an author more central to the study of American humor than Mark Twain.

Editor’s Note: We hope to have a number of academic societies describe their work.  If you run a society, or know someone who does, please get in touch with us.

For other posts on Mark Twain, use the category cloud in the side bar, or:

Mark Twain Prize

Mark Twain and Black Face

Huck Finn and the Critics

Huck Finn and Teaching

Mark Twain Links

Mark Twain and Medicine

Mark Twain’s Tale within a Tail within a Tale

Teaching the Irony of Satire (Ironically)

Mark Twain and The Jumping Frog

Happy Birthday Hal Holbrook!


Mark Twain Samuel Langhorne Clemens white suit


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